NAIROBI, Kenya - Last Friday, U.S. ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration announced his resignation, citing “differences with Washington.” He spoke again Wednesday, during an American Independence Day celebration at his official residence - the event also seeming to serve as his farewell party. His comments suggest that more details are yet to be revealed about his departure.
Ambassador Scott Gration spoke at an American 4th of July celebration in Nairobi. He was expected to elaborate on his sudden announcement of resignation last Friday.
According to the Associated Press, Gration’s resignation came after he saw a draft of a U.S. State Department report that criticized his leadership style and management of the embassy.
“It became time, and it became clear to me that it was time for me to move on, so I made the decision to move on in a way that respected my reputation, and my dignity, and that’s what we’ll do," he said. "I’m still the ambassador here, until the 28th, I will continue to serve as the ambassador and do my very best to protect Americans, America’s interests, and to promote our values. That’s what President Obama asked me to do, and that’s what I’ll do until my last second here in the country.”
When he resigns on July 28, Gration will have served just over 14 months in office.
His departure comes at a time when Kenya is dealing with a volatile security situation, including recent attacks within the country, as well as a fight against Islamist militants in Somalia.
In addition, Kenya is bracing for upcoming elections - the previous cycle in 2007 left the country devastated by ethnic violence.
Gration had a long career in the U.S. Air Force, and was appointed ambassador to Kenya in 2011, following a two-year stint as U.S. special envoy to Sudan.
“Well, let me tell you, I spent 32 years of my life... I was ready to die, I was a military man, and I spent 32 years of my career defending the rights of people to have freedom of speech and to express their opinions," he said. "Some people have done that, I respect that, we’ll live with it, eventually the truth will come out, and the truth shall set me free.”
Both Gration and his wife spent part of their childhoods in Kenya and he speaks Swahili, the primary local language. Gration has repeatedly called the posting as Ambassador his “dream job.”
The Grations plan to stay in Kenya for the foreseeable future, while they decide their next steps.